Side to Side Leg Raises

I have another abdominal exercise for you for the Home Exercise of the Week!  Your core muscles are very important for maintaining a healthy posture and back health as well as providing stability and strength to all other exercises and every day activities.  So please make sure you are not neglecting your core and to help you with that I would like to show you the Side to Side Leg Raise.

Side to Side Leg Raises target your lower abdominals and your obliques.  Proper form is key as with any exercise but with this one especially since improper form could lead to strain on your lower back.

Let’s take a look at the key points for proper Side to Side Leg Raise execution:

  • lay flat on the floor with your arms extended out to your sides (this will stabilize you and keep you from rolling over) and legs together straight up in the air
  • pull your belly button in towards your spine which will activate your abdominals and allow them to do more of the work instead of your back
  • with legs together, lower them to the side until they are almost touching the floor
  • keeping your abs contracted, raise back up to the starting position and repeat on the other side
  • keep your head down as much as you can throughout the movement

Add the Side to Side Leg Raise to a superset or to your ab routine with a rep range of 12 to 20 reps to start.  If you find keeping your legs straight to be extremely challenging then you can bend your legs at the knees giving you a shorter lever which in turn will make the exercise easier.  On the flip side, if you find this not challenging enough then try holding a dumbbell between your feet!

Now go and get your abs burning!

Reverse Crunch

It’s ab burning time for this weeks Home Exercise of the Week!  The Reverse Crunch is a great exercise to add in to your ab routine and it’s not a complicated move so it’s easier to get the hang of.  Now just because it’s an easier move doesn’t mean that it will be easier on your abs.  You will feel this one!

The Reverse Crunch focuses on your rectus abdominus and you will feel this in your lower abdominals.  The move is subtle but very effective.

Let’s look at the key points to doing the Reverse Crunch properly.

  • lay face up on a mat keeping your head down and arms resting at your sides throughout the crunch
  • raise your feet up and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle – this is the starting position
  • contract your abs to slowly bring your knees towards your chest and raise your hips off the floor
  • hold the contraction for a second or two then lower your hips to the starting postition
  • keep a slow pace and use your abs to lift your hips instead of swinging your legs and causing momentum which will take the focus away from the abs you are trying to work

So there you have the Reverse Crunch.  Perform 1 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions in your ab routine or add a set of 15 to 20 repetitions to a superset of compound exercises to save time!

Sumo Squat

Happy new year everyone!  It’s a brand new year and I’m sure many of you have set some resolutions or revisited some previous years resolutions but regardless it’s time to get your butt in gear!

What better way to get your butt in gear than doing a leg exercise.  The first Home Exercise of the Week for the new year is the Sumo Squat.

The Sumo Squat is a safe and effective leg exercise that really targets your inner thighs along with your glutes and hamstrings.  It will really help too if you plan on doing some sumo wrestling! 🙂

Let’s take a look at the key points to doing the Sumo Squat effectively.

  • start with your feet wider than your shoulders with your toes pointed out slightly
  • keep your back straight, head up, and shoulders back
  • squat down keeping your knees in line with your toes (don’t let them shoot past your toes)
  • once your thighs are parallel to the floor or below, push yourself back up through your heels
  • don’t lock your knees at the top
  • inhale as you go down and exhale on the way back up

So there you have the Sumo Squat!  Add this to your leg routine and in no time you will have strong, toned legs and will be ready to take on any sumo wrestler who comes your way! 😉